Provolone Dolce vs. Piccante: What is the Difference?

If you’re a fan of Italian cheeses, you might have come across Provolone on your shopping list, but did you know that there are two types of provolone- dolce and piccante? As an avid cheese lover myself, I’ve been on an adventure to try out different types of cheeses, and I can tell you with confidence that the two types are drastically different.

So, what exactly is the difference between provolone dolce and piccante? Provolone dolce, which translates to “sweet,” is a lighter, milder, and softer cheese with a sweet flavor. On the other hand, provolone piccante, which means “spicy,” is more robust, sharper, and seasoned with hot pepper flakes to give it that extra kick. These two types of cheeses are distinct, despite having the same origin.

While it’s easy to assume that the difference between these two cheeses is in their age, that’s not the case. The difference comes from the unique ingredients used in their production process, causing a variance in their taste, texture, and strength. So, if you’re planning on trying Provolone, remember to look out for these two different types and choose according to your taste preference – mild and sweet or robust and spicy!

Provolone Dolce vs Piccante: What’s the Difference?

As a cheese lover, you may have encountered the terms provolone dolce and piccante and wondered what sets them apart. While both are varieties of provolone cheese, there are crucial differences in flavor, texture, and aging. Below is a breakdown of the differences between provolone dolce and piccante:

Flavor and Texture

  • Provolone Dolce: Dolce means “sweet” in Italian, and this cheese lives up to its name. Provolone dolce is a milder, sweeter cheese with a subtle, buttery flavor. The texture is softer and creamier than its piccante counterpart, making it perfect for melting in sandwiches or on pizza.
  • Provolone Piccante: Piccante means “spicy” in Italian, and this cheese packs some serious flavor. Provolone piccante has a sharper, more intense taste and a firmer, drier texture. It’s aged for a minimum of four months, during which time it develops a distinct tangy and slightly nutty taste.


Age is a crucial factor in determining the flavor of both provolone dolce and piccante. Typically, provolone dolce is aged for around two to three months, whereas piccante is aged for at least four months and can be aged for up to two years. The longer the cheese is aged, the more pungent and complex the flavor becomes.


Both provolone dolce and piccante have their unique qualities that make them suitable for different dishes:

Provolone Dolce Provolone Piccante
-Melting in sandwiches or on pizza -Served by itself, paired with meats and olives
-In pasta dishes -Grated over soups or salads
-Used in dips and spreads -Eaten as a snack with bread or crackers

Now that you know the difference between provolone dolce and piccante, you can experiment with them in your cooking and find your favorite ways to use them.

Flavor profile of Provolone Dolce

Provolone Dolce is a semi-soft Italian cheese that is made from cow’s milk. It is one of the most popular Italian cheeses, with a milder and sweeter taste compared to its counterpart, Provolone Piccante. Here’s a closer look at the flavor profile of Provolone Dolce:

  • Sweetness: As the name suggests, Provolone Dolce has a sweet taste with a hint of caramel. The sweetness pairs well with fruits and jams, making it a popular choice in cheese platters and desserts.
  • Buttery: Provolone Dolce has a buttery texture that melts in the mouth. This smoothness comes from the high-fat content in cow’s milk.
  • Tangy: Although not as sharp as Provolone Piccante, Provolone Dolce still has a tangy flavor that comes from the aging process. The cheese is typically aged for 2-3 months, allowing it to develop a mild tanginess that balances the sweetness.

Provolone Dolce is versatile and can be used in various dishes and recipes. Its mild and sweet flavor complements Italian dishes such as pasta, pizza, and sandwiches. It can also be used as a substitute for other common cheeses such as mozzarella and cheddar.

Now that we’ve explored the flavor profile of Provolone Dolce, let’s compare it to its counterpart, Provolone Piccante, in the next section.

Flavor profile of Piccante Provolone

Piccante Provolone is a type of aged provolone cheese that boasts a sharp and piquant flavor. This cheese has a distinctively nutty flavor with a slightly tangy aftertaste. The aging process develops the flavors and gives it a slightly harder texture, allowing it to pair well with spicy meats, olives, and acidic wines.

  • The flavor is bold, sharp, and tangy
  • It has a nutty and savory taste
  • The texture is firm and crumbly with small air pockets

The flavor profile of Piccante Provolone is pronounced and complex, making it a popular choice for adding depth to dishes that need a punch of flavor. It is also the perfect cheese for pairing with bold and full-bodied wines.

If you’re looking for a cheese that can stand up to a spicy pepperoni pizza or a hearty meat sandwich, Piccante Provolone is the perfect choice. Its sharp and complex flavor can cut through the richness of the meat, while the nuttiness adds an extra level of depth to the overall flavor profile.

Flavor Texture Pairing
Sharp Firm and crumbly with small air pockets Spicy meats, olives, acidic wines

The sharp, nutty, and savory flavor of Piccante Provolone makes it a standout cheese that can elevate any dish it is used in. Whether enjoyed in a sandwich or as part of a cheese board, this cheese will never disappoint.

Texture differences between Provolone Dolce and Piccante

Aside from the difference in flavor, Provolone Dolce and Piccante also differ in texture. The texture refers to the feeling of the cheese in your mouth and how it behaves when it’s heated or melted.

Here are some of the notable differences in the texture of Provolone Dolce and Piccante:

  • Provolone Dolce has a softer and creamier texture compared to Piccante. This is because Dolce has a lower moisture content, which makes it easier to slice and melt.
  • Piccante, on the other hand, has a firm and dense texture. It is much drier than Dolce, which makes it a better option for grating and shredding.
  • When melted, Provolone Dolce has a tendency to become stringy and gooey, which makes it perfect for dishes like pizza and lasagna. Piccante, on the other hand, melts smoothly and evenly without becoming stringy, which makes it great for grilling and sandwiches.

To give you a better idea of the texture differences between Provolone Dolce and Piccante, here’s a table that summarizes their characteristics:

Texture Provolone Dolce Piccante
Softness Soft and creamy Firm and dense
Moisture Lower moisture content Higher moisture content
Melting Stringy and gooey Smooth and even

Understanding the differences in texture between Provolone Dolce and Piccante can help you determine which one to use in your dishes. Whether you prefer a softer and creamier cheese or a firmer and denser one, both Provolone Dolce and Piccante offer unique textures that can add depth to your recipes.

Ideal uses for Provolone Dolce

Provolone Dolce is a milder and softer version of Provolone cheese, which makes it a great cheese for snacking and sandwiches. Here are some ideal uses for Provolone Dolce:

  • Sandwiches: Provolone Dolce’s mild and creamy flavor make it a perfect cheese for sandwiches and paninis. Its soft texture also makes it easy to melt.
  • Charcuterie boards: Pair Provolone Dolce with meats like prosciutto and salami for a delicious and balanced flavor combination. Add some crackers and grapes to complete the board.
  • Cheeseburgers: Replace the traditional cheddar or American cheese on your cheeseburger with Provolone Dolce for a more subtle and creamy flavor.

Nutritional benefits of Provolone Dolce:

Provolone Dolce may not be the healthiest cheese out there, but it does offer some nutritional benefits. Here are some of the nutrients found in Provolone Dolce:

Nutrient Amount per 1 oz serving
Protein 7g
Calcium 200mg
Vitamin B12 15% of the daily value
Fat 8g

Provolone Dolce is also free of carbohydrates, making it a great option for those following a low-carb or keto diet.

Ideal uses for Piccante Provolone

Piccante provolone is a sharp, aged variety of provolone cheese that packs a punch of flavor. Its firm texture and intense taste make it a versatile ingredient in a variety of dishes. Here are some ideal uses for piccante provolone:

  • Charcuterie boards: The bold flavor of piccante provolone pairs well with cured meats like salami, prosciutto, and pepperoni. Add some slices of piccante provolone to your next charcuterie board for an extra burst of flavor.
  • Sandwiches: Piccante provolone adds depth of flavor to sandwiches beyond the typical mild provolone. Try it in a Philly cheesesteak or an Italian sub for a delicious twist.
  • Pizza: The sharpness of piccante provolone cuts through the richness of pizza toppings, making it a great addition to any pizza. Use it in place of mozzarella for a unique flavor profile.

In addition to these uses, piccante provolone can also be added to pasta dishes, omelets, and salads for an extra kick of flavor.

If you’re unfamiliar with piccante provolone, it can be helpful to know how it differs from its milder counterpart, provolone dolce. While provolone dolce is creamy and mild with a slight nutty flavor, piccante provolone is aged for anywhere from six months to two years, giving it a sharper taste and firmer texture.

Provolone Variety Flavor Texture
Provolone Dolce Mild, creamy, nutty Soft
Piccante Provolone Sharp, tangy, intense Firm

Whether you’re a fan of sharp cheeses or just looking to try something new, piccante provolone is a delicious addition to any recipe. Its unique flavor and texture make it a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes.

Pairing Provolone Dolce and Piccante with wines and other beverages

Provolone Dolce and Piccante have distinct flavors and characteristics that pair well with various types of wines and other beverages. Choosing the right pairing can enhance the overall taste and experience of consuming these types of cheese.

  • Red wines: Provolone Dolce pairs well with medium-bodied red wines such as Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Chianti. These wines have a fruity and slightly acidic taste that complements the mild and sweet taste of Provolone Dolce. On the other hand, Piccante pairs well with full-bodied red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Barolo, and Shiraz. These wines have a bold and tannic taste that matches well with the sharp and spicy flavor of Piccante.
  • White wines: Provolone Dolce can also be paired with white wines such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. These wines have a crisp and refreshing taste that balances the rich and creamy flavor of Provolone Dolce. Meanwhile, Piccante pairs well with dry white wines such as Pinot Grigio and Riesling. These wines have a citrusy and acidic taste that complements the tangy and acidic flavor of Piccante.
  • Beer: Provolone Dolce can be paired with light beers such as Pilsner and Blonde Ale. These beers have a mild and refreshing taste that complements the mild and sweet flavor of Provolone Dolce. Piccante, on the other hand, pairs well with strong and hoppy beers such as IPA and Stout. These beers have a bold and bitter taste that matches well with the sharp and spicy flavor of Piccante.

Aside from wines and beers, Provolone Dolce and Piccante can also be paired with other types of beverages:

  • Coffee: Provolone Dolce pairs well with smooth and mild coffee such as Cafe Latte and Cappuccino. Meanwhile, Piccante pairs well with strong and bold coffee such as Espresso and Americano.
  • Tea: Provolone Dolce can be paired with milder tea such as White Tea and Green Tea. Meanwhile, Piccante pairs well with bolder tea such as Black Tea and Chai Tea.
  • Fruit juices: Provolone Dolce pairs well with sweet and tangy fruit juices such as Orange Juice and Pineapple Juice. Meanwhile, Piccante pairs well with acidic and sour fruit juices such as Lemon Juice and Cranberry Juice.
Cheese type Recommended pairing
Provolone Dolce Medium-bodied red wine
White wine
Light beer
Mild coffee
Milder tea
Sweet and tangy fruit juices
Provolone Piccante Full-bodied red wine
Dry white wine
Strong and hoppy beer
Strong and bold coffee
Bolder tea
Acidic and sour fruit juices

Pairing Provolone Dolce and Piccante with the right wines and other beverages can elevate the taste and experience of these types of cheese. It’s important to consider the distinct flavors and characteristics of each cheese to find the perfect pairing.

What is the Difference Between Provolone Dolce and Piccante?

If you are a cheese lover, you might have come across Provolone dolce and piccante. However, it’s normal to wonder what sets them apart. Here are some frequently asked questions to help you understand the difference:

1. What is Provolone Dolce?

Provolone Dolce is a semi-soft cheese, made from cow’s milk. It’s mild in flavor and has a creamy texture. Provolone Dolce is aged for 2 to 3 months, giving it a sweet and delicate flavor.

2. What is Provolone Piccante?

Provolone Piccante is a semihard cheese that’s also made from cow’s milk. It’s aged for six months or more, giving it a sharp, tangy flavor. The longer the cheese is aged, the sharper its flavor becomes.

3. What are the differences in taste between Provolone Dolce and Piccante?

The main difference between Provolone Dolce and Piccante is their taste. Provolone Dolce is mild and sweet, with a buttery and creamy flavor, while Provolone Piccante is sharp, tangy, and spicy.

4. Can Provolone Dolce and Piccante be used interchangeably?

No, they can’t. Due to their differences in flavor and texture, they can’t be used interchangeably. Provolone Dolce is ideal for sandwiches, pizza, and cheese plates. Provolone Piccante works well in sauces, grated over pasta, and in salads, where its strong flavor can be savored.

5. Can I mix Provolone Dolce and Piccante?

Yes, you can. Mixing the two types of cheese, Provolone Dolce and Piccante, provides a balance of flavors and textures. This mix can add excitement and complexity to any dish.


Now you know the difference between Provolone Dolce and Piccante. Whether you’re a cheese connoisseur or just enjoy a delicious slice, experimenting with these cheeses in different dishes can help elevate your culinary experience. Thanks for reading, and make sure to visit again later for more exciting food-related insights.